Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Servant, the Soldier, and the Man with All Joy

"In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." - John 1:1,14

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:9

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" - Romans 1:16-17

"Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'" - Matthew 9:37-38

Lord, let us not be deceived by the wickedness of the world, for surely there shall be no fear of sin before out eyes. Guard your sheep, for we are weak and seek to stray, but let none escape the hand of Lord for surely His kingdom reaps the greatest of all things. Instill the faithfulness, kindness, passion, grace, and humility of Christ within all your children so that you might be glorified before all.

By the providence of God, we are sent out into the world so that we might face its trials and know God (John 17:3). We come in without knowledge of our purpose or its reasons, but only the promise that there is a purpose and it has its reasons. Faith is a gift from God because in and of ourselves we would not seek it (Romans 3:11), yet despite our stubborn heresy the Lord of the harvest comes to us with mercy and grace so that we might be made His. The debt has been paid, the burden is lifted, and the joy is made present... present in the fulfillment of God's promise through the works of His children and the fruit He renders. We are shown the glory of Christ, we are taught the ways of Christ, we know the value of His death, we see the power of His gospel, and finally we are given His work to perform not only to bring forth the kingdom, but to expand the joy of the believer. Any Christian who labors in vain, only does so because he sees it as vain. The works of Christ are meant to supply our joy until our consummation with Him; therefore, engage fully in everything that is of service to the Lord so that your joy will maximize. That is not to say that we should enter every small group, attend every church function, and serve in every ministry. Paul writes:

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." - Philippians 2:12-13

So engage in service, but only that which serves your own salvation and only that which instills fear and trembling before the Lord. Certainly this suggests that we all become selfish and I would say that inevitably that is the goal. What good is our service if we do not conduct it with love and joy? The Father has designed us so that our selfish joy might be fulfilled in doing that which glorifies Him the most. The cynic in me would say that you're going to be selfish anyway, so why not do it in service of the Lord? The romantic in me would say that your Father that at one point hated has not only saved you from damnation, but also supplied an endless fountain of joy in service to Him, so why not jump in? Christ has set us in the armor of God so that we might understand that all things are either for or against the Lord. There is nothing between, there is no neutral; therefore, wage the war by the power of the gospel, with the promise of salvation, for the sake of Christ who has paid the debt you could not and who has conquered the death that would have taken you. The body is all for Christ, because Christ is for all of the body and His love is without mistake and without error. Peace and love to all my siblings in Christ, may we pray for those who have not yet been made known.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Quandary of the Rock and Feather

The more I see the way Christ works in my life and the lives of others the more I'm convinced that our perspective walks can be summed up by density. Psalm 144:1 states "Of David. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle." (ESV). Here David refers to God as a rock, which if grounded, is an unmovable object. In Matthew 16:18 Christ is speaking to Peter when He says "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." (ESV). Here Christ is not identifying Peter himself as the rock, but rather Peter's confession of Christ as Lord as the rock. John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Here we can see that Christ, the Rock, is the Word of God which Peter is speaking in Matthew 16. Furthermore we can conclude that Peter was always the Rock because in Galatians we see Paul rebuke Peter before the Church. Also in Acts 15 we see that although Peter resides on the Jerusalem council, it is James who has the decisive final word. So if we know that we ourselves are not the truth we can then realize that the Rock is indeed in us when we speak the Word, which is that Christ is Lord!

Now certainly no one would doubt the density of a rock, especially in the first century AD. However the reality is that like any scale, density has two sides. If the rock is representative of something with maximum density, I would argue that the feather would be its opposite. Feathers are thin, light, and even when placed in the ground they continue to sway. The feather represents the flimsy faith we have in our dryness which can be made to go in whatever direction the wind chooses. To back up this theory, I would present some compellingly convenient scripture from Ephesians 2:1-2. "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience." Here Satan is described as being the "the prince of the power of the air" and I don't think its a stretch to say that air has its sway over a feather.

The big thing that has been difficult for me recently is that no matter what I do in life, I am always going to be in service to someone. Honestly that hurts my pride a lot to know that inevitably I am called to serve no matter how I live my life. Even when I don't choose Christ, I am still a slave to Satan and all my sin works towards his goals. But as always there is that hope. We were not made to live in service of ourselves, because we can't! It isn't in our design to be self-sufficient; in fact, self-sufficiency would lead us straight out of existence all together. So if we accept that ultimately we must serve, the question then becomes which side do we choose? On the one hand you have Christ, the living God, who came and died in SERVICE to His people so that they might experience INFINITE and ENDLESS joy. On the other hand you have Satan who is purely selfish and delights in men working towards their own destruction. The great thing about service to Christ's kingdom is that He has served us first. For every non-believer that you lead to Christ, I promise His reward to you is infinitely greater than your works. Choosing Christ isn't a commission into bondage, but a welcoming into the greatest joy known to the universe.

I can't speak for the world, but I have no desire to be like a feather that blows back and forth at the will of sin. Instead I will be founded in the Rock that is the truth of Christ. A Rock that will endure tsunamis and hurricanes for my sake.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seated Where I Don't Belong

Where I Started

Sadly the Christian life is rarely lived with much foresight. It is when men reflect back on their lives that the truly see the grace, mercy, compassion, righteousness and love the Lord has shown them. Sanctification often happens through trial and suffering to the believer. Summer Beach Project 2010 has been the ultimate display of God's sanctification through suffering in my life. Don't misunderstand me, I enjoyed every minute of project and would do it all again in a heartbeat. However my heart today views my heart the first day of project in remorseful regret. If the office of apostle were ever to come into the world again, I would have believed myself to be the perfect candidate. I was unteachable, without compassion, and self-absorbed to an extreme for one whom Christ had already redeemed. And in the midst of all that pride, I have never experience so much failure in such a short time. All the wisdom I sought to spread seemingly fell on deaf ears. I became one of Satan's favorite tools for turning souls away from the love of Christ and all of this stemmed from seemingly unconquerable pride. I was angry at myself for not having the ability and endurance to overcome these obstacles and "serve" Christ the way I thought I should. I was an unhappy camper.

"Humility for Dummies"

Out of every believer in all of the world, I could not have been given a better one to act as my d-group leader. He was and is a polar opposite of me. My shortcomings are his successes and the more I began to see that the more jealous I became. He is relational, compassionate, caring, loving, and a true servant... I was (and to a large degree still am) not these things. He led in a way that I didn't understand. D-group wasn't about performance and living up to a certain mark, but instead it was concentrated on recognizing our distress and seeing the evidences of grace amidst that distress. It was being focused on dependency and praying despite our pride for that dependency. I always thought I knew what humility was, and thought my pride was necessary to accomplish works until I could figure out how to merge humility and service together. Isn't there a fundamental problem with that statement?! Is service not in and of itself humility? When we count others as better than ourselves and give because we recognize the immense need we all have for Christ, is that not humility? After a five minute conversation with me, one would not have thought so.

Revelation (not the book)

If I remember only one thing from this project it will be the last night. We were having one last night of worship before everybody left to return to their normal lives the next day. I don't really get into musical worship that much. I don't know why, and the more I learn about worship the more I think its not good. But for whatever reason this night I could really here the lyrics as being truths of God, and hindsight I see how it glorifies God to repeat His character back to Himself. I remember getting in the car afterward with a good friend and hearing this question "So, that's it, that's beach project... what do you think?" I thought for a second. God had shown me a lot about His sovereignty, His mercy, His righteousness, His holiness, etc. But for whatever reason none of those things individually were the answer I gave. All the things I had been living for were just my attempts to satisfy my ego and convince myself that I really was okay, and at the end of the day... who cares? Why does any of that matter? If anyone has ever seen the movie Troy, there is a scene where Achilles is talking to His mother about possibly going to fight in the Trojan War. She says that if he stays he will marry a woman, have children, and in a few generations his name will be forgotten. But if he goes to Troy and fights for something greater than himself, he will be a hero whose name will live on forever though the war will take his life. Of course to make a good story he goes to war, dies, and now we all remember Achilles... hooray. This does have application though, I promise. See Achilles could have preserved himself, lived comfortably, and died after a "happy" life. The alternative led to glory, and everlasting life.

If I live for myself, I may find satisfaction for a moment, but I will die like all the rest. But if we live for Christ and fight for His name's sake, it may cost our worldly lives, but we will reign eternally with the Father. Most of all we will be remembered and loved forever by the only one who remembers and loves forever.

The Take Away

I'm not that important and neither are you. Yet despite our unimportance, the Creator and Perfecter of all things loves us and desires us to be with Him. What's the catch? Faith, trust, love, and even humility... that's it. Its not that hard. The question is, can we love enough? Can we give away all our control, ambitions, desires for the sake of Him who loves us above all? I certainly think so, and I know He'll be leading us every step of the way.

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." - Philippians 1:21

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Wrap Up

Last week of project coming up, time for the life outside. Done with the job now, did not make as much money as I thought and because of this I am in unpleasant debt to Campus Outreach. By the world's gauge this summer has been a terrible failure and if I had any sense I would never do it again. Unfortunately for the world I haven't complained about a minute of it and would probably stay here year-round if they would let me. Infinitely more important than my financial status and worldly relationships in the tremendous growth that has been adhered unto me by the sovereign grace of Christ. Though I was yet His enemy, He claimed me as His own and has revealed to me the chief end of man. As John Piper puts it, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Complete satisfaction in the redemptive quality of Christ demands we experience affliction with joy and honor the covenants made with the Father not out of duty or discipline, but a love for Him and a knowledge that only through Him can satisfaction be obtained. And the way to satisfaction is through death. We must die to our old selves and be conformed to the new life that Christ has given us and through this gift, we experience eternal satisfaction through praise to the Father and service to His kingdom. I am not of this world and it carries no dominion of my soul. Though I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, because the promise of my God reigns over the words and deeds of every man. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. No man may serve two masters and in this way we are delivered from the bondage of the world and sin. It is not the will of my Father that I should return to the world and be as those of the world. The sons of God have no stake in the world except to serve and make known the children of the Father. This is the manner that I will return to campus. Not as one who has heard the truth and does not listen, but as one who is conformed to the truth making it known to all that I might meet. This is the COMMAND of my Father to all those elect that He claims as His own.

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" - Matthew 28:18-20

The call to make disciples is for all the elect, so that there might not be any confusion. The nations of the unbelieving have waited on me for too long, and by the grace of my Lord I will not have them wait any longer. Peace and love in Christ, for it is through His blood that you might come to know the Father.

"And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." - John 17:3

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Beach Project: Week 1

I'm going to have to make this fast, but I figured I would post a little something about this past week. Everything has gone really well so far, even though it didn't seem like it would. I came in $300 short and was told that job hunting would be tough. However our room situation has worked out great, we were able to find a decent job pretty quick, and Lord willing the money is going to hold for now. My room and one other got a job at a Sonic in Destin and we worked our first day Friday. The place is pretty lost without the Lord, but I feel like the guys and girls we've brought will have a huge impact. The environment here is the best I have been around in terms of college students coming with hearts ready to learn about and serve the Lord and that has pushed me to try and emulate Him as best I can. I would ask that anyone reading this please pray for those that haven't gotten jobs yet so that they can place their faith in God and know that whatever happens it will be in accordance with His will. I'll have more information up soon, but I hope everyone is doing well and Lord willing I will see you all in August. Peace and love in Christ.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Huntsvegas & the hours before SBP

I like going to Huntsville, it brings me peace. My aunt and uncle don't really make me do anything and I'm quite fond of that. It's good and bad I think. I probably shouldn't be so lazy, but its also a great way to see how God works without me. God doesn't stop when I'm here and its good to be reminded that the kingdom of Heaven does not rest on any man's shoulders.

Beach project is tomorrow, and I think I'm ready for it. I need that accountability again. Not really sure how I'm going to survive this first week though, haha. Still about $300 short of what I need, but I suppose that's what faith is for. It's bad to think this way, but I've been wondering if SBP is going to be like a blockbuster movie. Everybody hypes it up for so long that when you see it you're disappointed. Its just something I have to experience and until then I need faith in God to hold my curiosity.

Well guys unless you're going to be at SBP, I probably won't talk to you again until August. Hopefully I'll post the happenings of the beach once a week, but since I'm never really good with keeping in touch that might not work out, haha. Peace and love guys, keep the faith and I'll see most of you in August.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I've never had a blog, but apparently its a good way to communicate to mass amounts of people at once. I figure since I'll be at SBP all summer and I don't do a good job of keeping up with people as it is, anyone that wants to can just keep up with me this way.

In other news, we've got SBP coming up in a week now and I'm pretty ready to go. The past few weeks have been fun, but its been a definite set-back for me spiritually. Its tough being outside of the body of Christ for so long and not having the accountability that we have on campus, and that's been my biggest struggle as well as my greatest urgency for beach project to get here. Not really sure how the summer will go, but I think its safe to say that God's plan will work for the best and Lord willing He'll reveal some way that I can continue to be around the body even when class isn't going on. But I think that about wraps up anything I wanted to say. I'm probably going to try to keep this a weekly thing, so read if you like. Hope you guys have a blast this summer and let's all try to keep in mind that faith in the Lord is the only thing we should want and need from this life. Peace and love.